It is 2 am. I am hard at it when suddenly the phone rings. My heart goes into overdrive! NOBODY calls at 2 am!
I get it before the first ring's echo ends.
"H. residence," careful to keep my voice light -- to obscure any sound of panic.
"Is this S. H.?" a deep, cultured male voice, but a tentative one. Fumbling with an unfamiliar name?
"Speaking." Cool now, aloof. I do NOT recognize this voice.
"Is this S.?" More fumbling, even greater hesitation, maybe confusion.
"Yes." Clipped. Frigid, even. I am severely ticked. What kind of a prank is this, at 2 am?
"This is ?? and my company has received word that you are looking for a second mortgage..." All hesitancy has fled. He's obviously reciting a well-reviewed line. I can't take in his name, nor that of the company. It sounds as if he's right there in the bedroom with me. I am LIVID.
I interrupt, voice still calm, but incredulous. "You called me at 2 AM to inquire about a MORTGAGE?" The pat spiel sputters to a stupefied stop briefly, then gets out two words that sound as if he's starting into a standard restart designed to overcome a listener's hesitancy.
Impatient, more forcefully, and above all, LOUDLY INCREDULOUS, I add, "At TWO AY EME?"
The voice trails off, then offers timidly, "It's not 2 am."
"I'm facing the clock. I can see it clearly from here, and it is TWO AY EME in the morning!"
"It's six am here."
"Well, you've got to understand, our company is based in Hiroshima, Japan."
But the voice is Midwest standard through and through. (I have a good ear for accents, and once distinguished that the voice I was listening to was NOT English, but probably Australian, but not quite, so I guessed "Do you come from New Zealand?" [Of course, I'd called the Iowa State University Vet Clinic line, and KNEW they had people from all over the world in training there.]
With a surprised laugh, the on-call vet said, "No, I came from Scotland," with a warm laugh and a soft, pleased tone.
"No, this voice is NOT Scotland."
"No, actually, but that's very good. I'm from New South Wales.")
I'm not sure I'd recognize New South Wales well enough to call it if I ever heard it again, but I AM CONFIDENT enough to call a foreigner speaking English, no matter where in the world it comes from. This 2 am caller was MidWest Standard... (We've moved not only the phone business off shore, but are now exporting minimum wage workers to man them??? And DUMB, INCONSIDERATE ones, at that. I think not. How hard is it to check where in the world the area code and country code you are calling is, then calculate the time change if it is YOUR BUSINESS??? A business would have a protocol all worked up, and a chart. If they alienate their prospects with as easily remedied a gaff as a time change snafu, they'd soon figure out how counter-productive such actions are. When I was trying to sell a horse to a businessman in Germany, he had an underling who spoke English call me with the questions. These came in at 3 AM, but I was trying to SELL him something, not vice-versa.)
He tries once more to start into his spiel, trying to save something from this disaster of a call, but I again cut him off, "At 2 am, I'm not interested in much of anything besides going back to SLEEP, and I DON'T NEED A MORTGAGE at all, at ANY hour." I hung up. By 4 am, I was safely asleep, but awoke at 7 and could not go back. I'll pay for it later today, I'm sure.
I've not had a call from a mortgage company or any other kind of phone solicitation that wasn't the fireman's benevolent fund variety since I got on the no-call list, so the 2 am mortgage call really got my dander up.
Now, I'm wide awake, and wondering if when I called Wells Fargo about the money changing business, I didn't get on their list somehow???